NO-FRILLS airline AirAsia Sdn Bhd will seal an agreement with Senai Airport Terminal Services Sdn Bhd (SATS), the operator of Johor's Sultan Ismail International Airport, in two weeks, a move that will dash Changi Airport's hope to handle the airline in Singapore.
Its chief executive officer Tony Fernandes told StarBiz: “We have pretty much decided we are heading to Johor. The new management at SATS is proactive and the team has been a joy to work with. We are very happy and have virtually completed a deal with them.”
Although routes to and from Johor are yet to be finalised, he said the obvious routes would be east Malaysia and “some new routes that have not been done before”.
“We are still playing around with it. We are very fluid. We will grab opportunities. We will change. But I think it gives us the ability to react and respond quickly to changes in the market,” Fernandes said.
He added that AirAsia would be working with several partners to shuttle passengers to and from Singapore but declined to give details.
Fernandes was speaking after Datuk Azmi Razak, secretary-general of the Culture, Arts and Tourism Ministry, launched AirAsia's “Go holiday” online packages in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
Fernandes indicated that AirAsia was looking to go regional before the end of this year, adding that he might resume talks with Changi Airport soon to explore possibilities for its regional plans.
On a different note, he said 200,000 passengers travelled with AirAsia last month, which recorded a 79% passenger load. He expects 84% passenger load this month and forecasts revenue of RM500mil this year.